Quarterly Report: 2013, January - March (Q3), Lime Village

Community:
Lime Village 
Staff:
Jedediah Smith  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Lime Village 
Population:
28  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
4/22/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Lime Village is located on the Stony River, 50 miles southeast of its junction with the Kuskokwim River. The village is 111 air miles south of McGrath, 137 air miles east of Aniak, and 185 air miles west of Anchorage. Lime Village is a Dena'ina Athabascan settlement practicing a subsistence lifestyle. Water is drawn from a community well, which supplies the washeteria. The washeteria facility provides drinking water, restroom, shower, and laundry facilities. There is no piped water service to homes in the community. The school and teacher housing were built with individual septic systems, but the school is no longer operational as the community's school aged population dropped below the minimum required. Other homes and buildings in the village are not fully plumbed and rely on pit privies. The washeteria is managed by the Lime Village Traditional Council.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff received a signed federal request for tax information on March 4,2013. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with Lime Village staff, toward a goal of fulfilling all essential indicators on the RUBA assessment, as well as the sustainable indicators. Lime Village has agreed to sign and engage in a RUBA agreement, in order that RUBA staff can support this process through quarterly on-site visits.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
22 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
16 of 27
Total Score:
38 of 54

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
Yes The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
Yes The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
Yes The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Lime Village Traditional Council is the governing body of the utility. During the on-site visit, RUBA staff worked with the tribal administrator to consolidate multiple grant-specific budgets into a single budget document for CY 13. This master budget separates utility enterprise revenues from grants income, allowing a clear financial picture of the community's resources and expenses. While residents are charged for tokens to use the washeteria laundry and shower facilities, the community subsidizes washeteria costs with monies from annual grants funding, particularly BIA funds. BIA grant monies contribute to village personnel expenses for the full-time tribal administrator, full-time public works/water operator, part-time janitor, part-time electrical utility operators, and occasional maintenance personnel - all of whom are involved in caring for city utilities. Lime Village does have a repair and maintenance account established for its water utility, also subsidized through grant funding; this has been sufficient to cover repairs and parts replacement. The washeteria functions as a community multi-use building, housing the tribal office and providing public computer use in the laundry area. Mail is sorted and distributed to open mailboxes in the washeteria, where community members pick it up. Fuel to heat the washeteria is purchased through Community Revenue Sharing funds; electricity is billed to the tribal office from the community owned electric utility. Token funds are used to pay for consumable supplies, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The washeteria is regularly and meticulously cleaned by the janitor. Financial reports are given at regularly scheduled meetings of the Lime Village Traditional Council and utility management decisions are discussed by the council. Most recently, there has been substantial discussion of implementation of a collections policy for monies owed to the village electric utility. Fuel is readily available, with purchases as needed. Community Revenue Sharing funds are fully dedicated to community fuel costs. Because the Stony River does not allow barge access, fuel is transported by small plane from Sleetmute, 200 gallons at a time. The tribal administrator is implementing new tracking systems to more easily separate amounts of fuel used for the generators of the electric utility from fuel used for other purposes. The community is very aware of fuel expense and limited supply, and typically participates in fuel conservation measures (limited generator use, less heat use in the village office and washeteria) late in the winter season. Electricity is provided by Lime Village Electric Utility. This utility was managed for many years by Raven Consulting in McGrath; Lime Village Traditional Council has fully taken over management of the electric utility in 2012, due to the retirement of Raven personnel. The community is applying sound financial management principles to the management of their new electric utility. A customer invoicing system has been developed on QuickBooks and - when adopted - the Traditional Council will implement the collections policy by disconnecting the electricity of customers with substantial unpaid balances.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
Yes An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
Yes An accounts payable system is in place.
Yes The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
Yes A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
Yes The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
Yes Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
Yes The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase, and the approval process compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.
Accounting Systems Comments
Lime Village has only recently taken on the invoicing and collections of accounts receivable for the electric utility. The washeteria operates on a pay-as-you-go system of token purchase. Evaluation of Lime Village utility financial systems will include the system design of the newly managed electric utility as an example of the community's management capacity. Lime Village's collections policy has not been enforced to the level of service disconnection, although this is now being discussed and considered. The tribal administrator and the council decided to enter as much previous account information as had been received from the prior manager of the utility, and sent back invoices to all customers for amounts owed. The major commercial clients of the electric utility paid these back balances in full and many residential customers are also making payments on amounts accrued during the management transition. The community is now current with billing, and - having just completed the first regular monthly billing cycle - is expecting most residential customers to either pay down their owed amounts or make payment arrangements with the utility. An indicator of 'yes' will be entered in the category of regular billing once the community has maintained a monthly billing cycle for three consecutive months. Lime Village uses QuickBooks for all its accounting - tribal grants, the electric utility, the water utility, and payroll. The tribal administrator attended RUBA QuickBooks training in late 2011, and is a regular user of the DCRA QuickBooks hotline for telephonic support. The payroll system is set up accurately, correctly calculating payroll taxes. Monthly statements of expenses are produced and balanced; the tribal administrator reconciles bank statements each month. Development of a consolidated CY13 budget document will allow this information to be entered, enabling the administrator to print out monthly reports which compare actual income and expenses to budgeted amounts. Oversight and controls for purchases are developed. Decision making related to disbursement in excess of anticipated amounts is brought to the Traditional Council for consideration.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No The utility is current on making tax deposits.
Yes If there are any past due tax liabilities or recorded tax liens, a lien release has been issued or a repayment agreement has been signed and repayments are current.
Tax Problems Comments
A signed Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information was sent to the IRS on March 4, 2013. Previous Tax information shows the tribe is compliant with federal tax filing, deposits and has no record of a lien. Tax clearance from the Alaska Department of Labor dated March 15, 2013 has been granted.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
Yes The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
No The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
No The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
Yes The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
Yes The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
Lime Village has workers' compensation insurance with Alaska USA to October 2012. The community does not have a personnel policy or an employee handbook. The creation of a comprehensive personnel policy will be one of the priorities on the RUBA agreement and work plan with the community. Job descriptions are available for all positions, but need updating. In the past, the role of bookkeeper was a distinct job; the tribal administrator has taken over bookkeeping duties in the absence of available personnel for this position. Individual personnel folders contain all required information, including I-9s, job applications, and personnel actions. There is not an active, scheduled practice of regular employee evaluation and feedback. RUBA staff encouraged the development of once yearly formal employee evaluation to include both written and verbal feedback. Money has been budgeted for costs of employee travel to trainings, as well as council member attendance at state-wide conferences. The community places a high priority in offering ongoing support for its employees to attend training opportunities.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
Yes The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
Yes The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The Lime Village Traditional Council is adequately involved in discussion and shared decision making related to utility management. The council has not yet enforced collections procedures; the electric utility has only recently come under the management of the council. The public works manager and the tribal administrator collaborate to serve as utilities managers, with regular input from the maintenance crew. The tribal administrator, public works manager, and council members appear to maintain ample communication and positive relationships. The tribal administrator and public works manager both transmit utility information and issues to the council. In a community comprised of 29 residents, roles regularly cross over, with tribal staff often also sitting on council. As a Traditional Council, meetings where only tribal business is discussed are not subject to the Open Meetings Act. However, any council meeting with discussion regarding projects accessing state funds (Community Revenue Sharing, the Washeteria, etc.) is required to be open to the public and posted with reasonable notice. Currently, council meetings are not posted, although the tribal administrator notes that they are typically open to the public.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
Yes The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The manager receives a monthly O&M report from the utility operator and routinely "spot checks" the facilities to see that the maintenance items are being completed.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
Yes Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
Yes The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
Yes The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
Yes The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility does not hold designated or documented safety meetings. Utility workers report informal discussions of safety issues; RUBA staff encouraged them to formalize and record these meetings. There have been no major outages of the utility due to managerial errors. The water operator was not able to provide RUBA staff with an inventory control list or a critical spare parts list. Both the water operator and the tribal administrator agree this is a wise idea; the remote location of this community makes it very difficult to obtain spare parts in a timely manner. The CY13 budget includes funding for critical spare parts to be kept on hand; the water operator will undertake the project of completing an inventory of materials and parts, as well as a prioritized list of critical spare parts. Lime Village does not filter or chemically treat its water. As a small, untreated water utility, certification for the water operator and a Consumer Confidence Report are not required. The community does voluntarily send out yearly water samples, to confirm that there are no contaminants. The water utility is not listed on the October 2012 Significant Non-Compiler List.